TeamTalk: Alonso’s transfer to Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso did not give Formula 1 a chance to start the summer break, as the Spaniard has announced he will join Aston Martin in 2023 a day after the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The announcement had further repercussions, as speculation began as to who will replace the two-time world champion at Alpine, with this story taking a different turn.

Alpine have essentially announced they have promoted reserve Oscar Piastri, with the latter denying his endorsement as reports linked him to a move to McLaren jeopardizing Daniel Ricciardo’s position as it appears a legal battle is on the horizon.

But that’s a TeamTalk for another time, as this one will focus on what our team thinks of Alonso’s decision to move to Aston Martin as a replacement for retired Sebastian Vettel.

After all, Alonso is famous, or infamous, for his bad decisions putting him in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Is this decision another example of Alonso’s rash decisions? TeamTalk discusses.

Kevin Melro: the Alonso/Vettel juxtaposition

Fernando Alonso’s birthday present this year saw the two-time F1 champion untie a new multi-year deal with Aston Martin; a pleasant surprise for all, as his departure from Alpine has set off a domino effect of excitement within the driver market which continues to unfold.

It started with a commendable outing from Sebastian Vettel who, at the age of 35, having cemented his status as a multi-championship driver in history long ago, found peace within himself to begin the next trip of his life.

I’ve always thought a gentlemen’s agreement should state that 35 is the limit for all F1 drivers, which means Vettel, Alonso and Lewis Hamilton; one, two, three you’re gone! Now, I’m not picking on the three senior F1 champions out of malice, but here’s a thought.

In the short term, Alonso will assume “The Iceman” Kimi Raikkonen’s all-time starting race record in a few races, that’s unavoidable at this point. In the ultimate case, Alonso sees the 2025 season and at that time, aged 44, he would have kept the bull six months longer than the “Gallina Vecchia” Valentino Rossi, as well as Michael Schumacher.

It would also see Alonso 16 years older than this year’s average driver age. With Lewis Hamilton himself planning a long future much like that of his ex. Teammate, I can’t help but point out how somewhat problematic this is for F1 in general.

Alonso’s Herculean effort is quietly aided by the FIA’s Super License Points System, a qualifying system for drivers seeking a seat in F1, which was introduced in 2015 and implemented the year next. This played a role in Alonso’s return to the saddle of a Grand Prix car in 2021 when Renault’s Zhou Guanyu failed to acquire enough points to qualify for F1 eligibility.

Driving in your 40s isn’t new, but it’s fairly rare in modern F1 as before Kimi and Fernando, only Michael Schumacher and Pedro De La Rosa have accomplished the feat in the past two decades.

One of the many negative ripple effects of the super license points system has been the increase in the average age of drivers on the grid. Raikkonen’s exit reduced the average age this year, but from 2016 to 2021 the average was among the highest in the past two decades.

It’s on this trend coupled with the Spaniard’s legendary feistiness that there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t make it through 2025. That being said, while it’s safe to thank Alonso and praise his successes, we must also not lose sight of the heroism in stepping back and departing from the next generation of pilots as Vettel did.

Mark Kay: Disturbing to imagine how Alonso and Aston Martin operate

promenade lawrence aston martin-001

In July 2020, Renault announced Fernando Alonso’s return to F1 after a two-year hiatus, and Cyril Abiteboul, the mastermind behind his recruitment in response to Daniel Ricciardo’s unexpected departure, described Alonso as a tremendous asset to the car brand. and the key to their strategy to get back to the top of the F1 grid.

Ironically though, it would appear in recent years that Renault, who renamed their F1 team Alpine for marketing purposes, have struggled to retain many of what can be considered formidable assets such as Daniel Ricciardo, Abiteboul himself, Marcin Budkowski and now Alonso have all left the team for whatever reason, while Oscar Piastri is doing his best not to make his F1 debut with them.

Surely there’s an underlying reason why it seems endemic within Renault that they’re unable to retain such high value and hard-to-replace resources, and it could be down to things like a culture of management or board that unwittingly or arrogantly lacks the ability to recognize and quantify the value these assets bring to the business.

Given the nature of the beast that Alonso is, there is no doubt that we will be privy to whatever he perceives to be the real story surrounding this very soon in the public forum, as is usually the case with him.

While it seemed obvious for Renault to retain Alonso, it was equally obvious that a one-year offer would be unacceptable to the Spaniard, and so as we know he moved to Aston Martin, which can only be seen as a step back in performance for him, and far further from the expected result of the podiums, which he said was the hope of returning to F1 when this announcement was made in 2020.

Arguably, the Stroll family’s involvement in Aston Martin is slightly more relevant than a mere vanity scheme, but it is most certainly structured as nepotism that serves the needs of its focal point, the son of the major shareholder and chairman, and that doesn’t seem like a very compatible match at all for Alonso who, by his inherent nature, needs to be manicured as a focal point at all times.

It’s confusing to try to imagine how it’s going to work.

Even more troubling, however, is the idea of ​​Alonso under the command of father, shareholder and chairman, Lawrence Stroll, whose absolute dominant persona and dictator like leadership will demand nothing simpler from Alonso than to fall into a conforming subordinate part form, drive the car, make the son look handsome, and shut your mouth.

It hardly sounds like Fernando Alonso, especially the last bit.

And then there’s Esteban Ocon, who’s going to be the most fortuitous party of them in all of this, and the one who’s going to be a most-deserved Major OEM Team Leader in 2023, the one who’s well and truly on the ascendant performance when it comes to on-track performance.

Unless of course Laurent Rossi decides to give him the film in turn…

Jad Mallak: Why is Alonso so keen on staying in F1?

I must admit that the announcement that Fernando Alonso will join Aston Martin next season took me by surprise, my first reaction being; WTF? !

Let me start by saying this, I believe Alonso is one of the most talented drivers of his generation, if not the most talented, and at 41 he has held up very well within a Formula 1 full of young and very talented pilots.

But the thing is, for all his feistiness, Alonso won’t be winning any races anytime soon, let alone a third championship. It’s not like he joined a Mercedes or a Red Bull, so why be so clingy?

His talent deserves more than the two championships he won, but if he couldn’t win more before his first retirement at the end of 2018, how can he or anyone else believe he can win not anymore ? And with Alpine and Aston Martin?

Despite his driving skills, Alonso has been lacking in the team player department as he has unfortunately been a spoiler within any team he joins, so overbearing in his approach that sooner or later intends to deteriorate and the inevitable divorce is coming.

The only time we’ve seen Alonso in a healthy team environment was with Renault in his early years when he dethroned Michael Schumacher from his F1 throne, but perhaps Flavio Briatore’s presence there- bas created a suitable habitat.

His 2007 season with McLaren was a disaster, and although his years at Ferrari started well, the relationship eventually soured as the two failed to bring championship glory back to Maranello, which cannot be blamed on Alonso alone, but the way he conducted himself there. wasn’t ideal either.

Should we even mention his disastrous second stint at McLaren with Honda?

Upon his return, Alonso tried to project the nice boy image; I couldn’t believe when I saw him celebrating Esteban Ocon’s first victory in Hungary in 2021, but I think it was just him trying too hard to be someone he wasn’t. is not.

I’m not surprised he left Alpine, as Ocon is no pushover, and with age on his side, that will be the team’s priority going forward, as evidenced by the fact that Alonso was offered a one-year contract extension only.

But my surprise came from Aston Martin’s decision to hire him and their agreement.

How will Alonso work with Lawrence Stroll, and how will the latter fare when the Spaniard pulverizes his boy Lance?

Green cars have been embarrassing for two seasons now, and chances are 2023 won’t be game-changing, so how will Alonso feel about falling back lower on the grid than in the Alpine?

There is no way Aston Martin will be a contender during Alonso’s foray there, and being in his 40s when his contract expires, will Alonso be able to carry on and reap the rewards?

So many questions whose answers will not favor Alonso, but in closing I leave you with only one:

Why is Fernando Alonso so keen on staying in F1?

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